HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 review: An EPYC-powered stunner
HPE’s ProLiant DL325 Gen10 delivers affordable 2P performance in a 1P server
AMD's fan base is getting ever larger as HPE has expanded its ProLiant Gen10 server portfolio to include a range of EPYC-based servers. In this exclusive review, we look at its latest ProLiant DL325 Gen10 - a slim-line 1U rack server designed to deliver dual-socket performance with a single-socket price tag.
HPE was keen to show off its capabilities to us as our review system came equipped with a tasty 32-core EPYC 7551P CPU. Intel's Xeon Scalable Platinum 8180 is faster but the 7551P beats it on sheer core count, it has much larger 64MB of L3 cache and a lower 180W TDP - plus, of course, it costs about a quarter of the price.
Even better, the server has a full house of 16 DIMM slots and with support for 128GB LRDIMMs already implemented, is capable of supporting the maximum 2TB. The standard Xeon Scalable Silver and Gold CPUs only support 768GB in 1P deployments.
HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10: Storage choices
The DL325 Gen10 is no lightweight in the storage stakes either as the chassis supports an impressive range of options. Your choices will depend on the RAID controller you specify, with the server's embedded Smart Array S100i supporting up to 14 SATA drives plus stripes, mirrors and RAID5 arrays.
Our system is SAS3-enabled as it includes HPE's Smart Array P408i-a Gen10 snap-in module, which adds RAID5, 6, 50 and 60 arrays to the storage equation. It also comes with 2GB of flash-backed write cache (FBWC) protected by a 96W high performance Li-Ion battery.
You can start with four LFF hot-swap drives, which leaves room above for an optical drive plus HPE's status panel. Our system came with eight SFF SAS/SATA bays, where the upper media bay blanking panel can be removed to add two more hot-swap SSF bays, taking the drive count to ten.
High performance storage is also on HPE's agenda as the DL325 Gen10 supports up to ten direct-attach PCIe NVMe SSDs. You'll need to specify the appropriate backplane when ordering, but the server is ready to receive them as its motherboard has five embedded dual-port PCIe NVMe connectors.
There's more; the motherboard has internal USB 3 and microSD card slots allowing the server to be booted into an embedded hypervisor. You can also save on storage bays and put your OS on fast M.2 SSDs as HPE's optional PCIe enablement board supports a pair of mirrored M.2 SATA SSDs and is cabled to dedicated SATA interfaces on the motherboard.
HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10: Deployment and management
HPE's Intelligent Provisioning makes light work of OS deployment. Selected during boot up, it provides direct access to the RAID controller for storage configuration and follows this up with an assisted OS installation wizard.
Remote management doesn't get any better as the embedded iLO5 controller presents a web interface packed with useful information about critical components. Upgrade to an Advanced or Essentials license and you'll get extra features such as power metering, full OS remote control and virtual media services.
The iLO5 provides tough platform and supply chain security and includes features such as Secure Start and Secure Recovery. Firmware is validated using HPE's Silicon Root of Trust fingerprinting which conducts a series of trusted handshakes between the firmware, BIOS and software and will stop the server booting if it detects that the firmware has been tampered with.
We added the server's iLO5 details to the lab's virtualized Hyper-V OneView app where we could closely monitor CPUs, power plus temperatures and use its tools for controlling power and running remote control sessions. We also used HPE's iLO Mobile iOS app on our iPad to remotely access the server and were presented with the same detailed interface as provided by a web browser.
HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10: Design and expansion
The chassis measures a rack-friendly 620mm deep and cracking its lid reveals a very tidy interior with easy access afforded to all key components. The EPYC socket is in the centre of the motherboard and flanked on each side by banks of eight DIMM slots.
Cooling is handled by five cold-swap, dual-rotor fans which must be upgraded to seven for systems with eight or more NVMe SSDs. There's plenty of room to upgrade with standard adapters, as a riser at the rear offers half-height and full-height PCIe slots. There is another PCIe riser connector next to the PSU bay but this can only be used if you don't have the Smart Array RAID snap-in module installed.
The server comes as standard with quad Gigabit ports and its FlexibleLOM slot allows networking to be easily upgraded without wasting any PCIe slots. You're spoilt for choice, too: HPE offers quad Gigabit plus dual-port 10GbE fibre or copper and 10/25GbE FlexibleLOM modules.
Our server came with one 800W Platinum PSU with room for a second redundant supply alongside and HPE also offers 500W and 1600W Platinum plus Titanium 800W options. The EPYC 7551P delivers on its power promises; we measured the review server sipping a mere 78W with the OS in idle and peaking at 233W under extreme load.
HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10: Verdict
With AMD's EPYC in the driving seat, the ProLiant DL325 Gen10 delivers a high core count and memory capacity that'll give more costly 2P rack servers a good run for their money. It offers an impressive range of storage options includes a full house of high-performance PCIe NVMe SSDs, its iLO5 controller offers great remote management and platform security features and for a 32-core system, the server on review looks top value.
Businesses that don’t want to splash out on expensive 2P servers will find the DL325 Gen10 and its core-heavy EPYC processor will give them just as much power at a more appealing price
Chassis: 1U rack CPU: 2GHz 32-core AMD EPYC 7551P Memory: 64GB 2,666MHz DDR4 RDIMM (max 2TB with LRDIMMs) Drive bays: 8 x hot-swap SFF (max 10) RAID: HPE Smart Array P408i-a SAS3/2GB with FBWC/BBU Array support: RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, 1 ADM, 10 ADM Expansion: 2 x PCI-e Gen3 slots Network: 4 x Gigabit Other: FlexibleLOM slot, internal USB 3, microSD card slot Cooling: 5 x cold-swap fans (max 7) Power: 1 x 800W Platinum hot-plug PSU (max 2) Management: HPE iLO5 Standard with Gigabit Warranty: 3yrs on-site NBD